I eat a half a donut a day.

Personal Information

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NAME

Lori Kettelle

JOB TITLE

Owner/Baker/Fryer

LOCATION

Providence, RI

SALARY

Undisclosed

NUMBER OF YEARS IN THE FIELD

6

COMPANY

PVDonuts

Video

Education

Johnson and Wales, 2012
B.A., Baking and Pastry, and Business

Career Bio

The profession

Baking and pastry involves a lot of science and a lot of attention to detail. You need to follow instructions to a T. For example our dough needs to cool down really fast or else it gets spongy and has a light color after frying. And anything with yeast is tricky because it is a living organism.

As a baking and pastry major, I took cakes, plated desserts, the basics, doughs, breads, etc.

How I got here

I grew up in New Jersey. I like baking because I like the thought of being able to make every day different. Baking lets you invent. It is very hands-on. It's very active. When I applied to college I wanted to be either an accountant or a baker. Johnson and Wales was the only culinary school I applied to and when I came for a visit I fell in love with the school. That is how I ended up here.

The first time I baked was during a lab in a class called plated desserts. Growing-up there wasn't a lot of baking in my home. My mom made Tollhouse cookies. But I was always interested in it. And I didn’t realize how much was science was involved until I started.

Whenever my husband and I travelled we would try to find the best donuts. He works at a video agency. He knows how to cook an egg. I am very kitchen savvy he is very tech savvy. I always wanted to start my own business and recognized a void in the specialty donut market in Providence. The original idea was to do wholesale but after the order for one weekend was seven dozen donuts and the order for the next weekend was 22 dozen donuts, we knew we had hit on something. A month later we moved to a shared kitchen space at Sin. But at the shared space we could only work at a certain time. They only had two fryers. Then we took a month and a half off, and here we are, in this space.

A typical day

I get to the bakery at 2:30 AM, with one other girl. The first thing we do is take the dough out of the refrigerator to let it warm to room temperature. We also get the kitchen ready. We fill the fryer with oil, put away dishes, get the stations set-up. Two more girls come in at 3am and three start rolling and one prepares the dough for next day. We roll for three hours. When there are two trays of dough I'll stop and start frying. We fry from 4:30 AM to somewhere in between 8-10AM. In that time frame the girls finish rolling, they make bacon, for instance, and once it hits around 5:30AM, they dip, or glaze, the donuts. We make 1700 donuts a day, and due to the demand, limit it to six a person. We make a few different kinds of dough, chocolate old-fashioned, regular old-fashioned, regular brioche, and vegan 2 days a week. The old-fashioned don't have any yeast and are more dense and cake-like, and the brioche are airy and light. Every month we change the menu. The shelf life is about one day. I eat a half a donut a day.

November menu:
Coffee Milk Munchkins, Bacon w/Revival Brewing Beer Drizzle, Brown Butter w/Amaretto Cranberries, Pumpkin Cheesecake Filled w/Vanila Spice Glaze, Cereal Milk, Vanila Sprinkled, Apple Cranberry Coffee Cake, Cranberry White Chocolate, Chocolate Caremet Pretzel, Cookies'n Cream, Apple Monkey Bread, Caramel Monkey Bread, Vegan Maple Monkey Bread, Vegan Cereal Milk

The hardest parts

For me, personally as a business owner, the hardest part has been figuring out the boundary between friend and employee. But I'm getting used to it.

Another hard part, on weekends especially, is limiting the number of donuts to 6 per person, and trying not to disappoint employees. Also it's hard not to take things personally with reviews, etc.

The best parts

Providing donuts! Getting the positive feedback. We use Squares so we get a percentage of the number of returning customers. Knowing people come back to us. And being able to work with friends. I was friends with all of them before we worked together. Friends for years.

The workplace

We’ve all been friends for so long so everyone takes pride in what they do. We are all motivated to make the best product possible. All determined. Everyone here plays the part. Everyone was here since we first started. During the construction, etc.

Advice for someone thinking about going into the field

Work hard, it will get easier. I never expected to be where we are now. It is early mornings. Expect early bedtimes. But as long as you have the drive you can do it.

Advice to my younger self

It is all going to work out. This is something I always talked about. Even in high school I talked about starting a business.